Effective November 8, 2021, the Biden Administration will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa. In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans. On October 25, 2021, the White House provided specific operational details describing how the program will be implemented and who will — and will not — be impacted by the new rules. Continue Reading U.S. Announces Operational Details for Replacement of Travel Bans with Vaccine Mandate on November 8
In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many countries have imposed both inbound and outbound restrictions on international travel. These restrictions can affect the ability of foreign national residents to reenter their host countries after even brief trips abroad. With the holidays approaching, resident foreign nationals who wish to travel outside their host countries must plan well in advance to ensure compliance with all departure and reentry requirements. Failure to do so could negatively affect their immigration status.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published details in the Federal Register about how it will implement the temporary “safe haven” program, also called Deferred Enforced Departure – (DED), for certain Hong Kong residents in the United States. The notice also provides instructions for employers regarding acceptable documentation to hire workers under this program.
The U.S. government administers an annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that, historically, offers one of the most expeditious paths to legal permanent residency and the American dream. Registration is currently open through November 9, 2021. The application is submitted electronically and registration is open to candidates around the globe, including to foreign workers in the United States who seek a “fast-track” to permanent residency.
With dramatic declines in COVID-19 infections, Japan is removing domestic business restrictions. Despite calls by influential business circles to reopen Japan to foreign business travelers, the country remains largely closed to all foreigners and entry for even business purposes remains in principle suspended. For example, over 370,000 foreign nationals with Japanese government-issued precertification for entry into Japan (as of October 1, 2021) remain unable to enter the country. Visa issuance is also extremely limited. As most developed countries have reopened their borders and with a new prime minister now in place, it remains to be seen how the Japanese government will respond to pressures to resuscitate international business stymied by COVID-19. Currently, 10 day quarantine measures upon entry into the country are in effect for all Japanese nationals and other entrants regardless of vaccination status.
Please see the recent article published by Nikkei Asia for more information.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior released a new set of regulations for the Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) B-1 Work Visa. The new regulations include shortened visa processing times, increased duration of stay, and overall simpler application processes for candidates wishing to obtain a work visa for short stays.
What’s the State of Play Today?
- Low unemployment rates and a shortage of STEM talent continue to drive visa sponsorship of foreign workers by US employers.
- H-1B visas have a ceiling of six years, unless workers are sponsored by their employers for “green cards” early in the process (typically by year four).
- Many employers, particularly in the tech arena, are offering foreign workers “green card” sponsorship as of the start date with the company as a recruitment incentive.
- Companies sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards are required to show as part of the application process that they couldn’t find any qualified American workers to fill the job, a job market testing program known as “PERM” sponsorship.
- A major technology company agreed on October 19, 2021 to pay a financial penalty of up to $14.25 million, which includes $4.75 million to the US government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of alleged discrimination.
- The government’s suit claimed that the company had illegally reserved jobs for foreign workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence instead of searching for and considering available US workers.
- The Department of Justice complaint alleged that the company improperly deviated from normal recruiting standards by requiring applications for PERM-sponsored roles to be mailed to the company rather than, as was the standard practice for general recruiting, submitted online.
- The complaint further alleged that the company did not post these positions on its careers website, as was its standard practice for general recruiting, which appeared to result in very low numbers of US worker applications for the PERM roles.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) also executed a settlement with the company based on its audit of certain of the company’s pending PERM applications, in which the company agreed to engage in additional notice and recruitment for US workers and as a result of which the company will face ongoing audits by DOL.
- As part of the settlements, the government will monitor the company’s PERM program for the next three years, and DOL will conduct additional audits of the company’s PERM filings.
Mayer Brown announced that Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern, managing partner of the firm’s Washington DC office, has been recognized in Corporate Counsel’s 2021 Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards in the “Innovative Leadership” category. The awards honor general counsel, in-house leaders and law firm partners who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in law. Read Ms. Stern’s honoree Q&A profile here.
Effective October 30, 2021, Canada will require all adults traveling in the country by rail or air to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirements apply to those traveling within Canada and to those departing from Canada for international destinations. The new rules apply to all persons ages 12 and up.
On October 15, 2021, the Biden Administration confirmed that it will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa effective November 8, 2021. In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans.